Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen
mrissa

Back again for its first 2009 engagement! Books I quit reading.

1. If you want to write a memoir, write a memoir. If you want to write a book about something else with memoir bits in it, you have to make sure that the memoir bits are roughly on a par with as interesting as your topic, or else really really short. Or else I will run away and read some other book on your topic whose author is not convinced that their own life is the most fascinating thing ever.

2. I remember being a teenager. It was not a built-in excuse for being an asshole. So whining that your parents are mean because they're poor? No. Sometimes it's not enough that the narrative be aware that the character is an asshole--you're still sticking me with a big chunk of text all about this asshole, and if they're not an entertaining asshole, I'm going to read something else.

3. Hockey is not everything. I mean this in a philosophical sense, but also in a very literal sense: hockey is not the building of Hadrian's Wall. Hockey is not the Silk Road. Trying to argue that various historical events were the True Beginning Of Hockey is likely to make me roll my hockey-loving eyes and move on.

4. Unrelieved doom. Next.

5. I know and care about several people who stammer. They do not go, "Th-this s-sentence is s-stupid." That is not how it works. It's not cute, it's not funny, quit doing it.

6. If your entire plot/premise is predicated around someone learning not to worry their pretty little head about big hard questions, go directly to hell and take your book with you.

7. If you have convincingly portrayed a protagonist everybody hates, you may consider that there's a good reason for this.

8. If you're going to compare your parents to Hitler--as an adult writing nonfiction--you need to be aware of the scale differences. No, seriously. Unconscious hyperbole is not our friend.

9. You had no respect for yourself, your reader, or your characters. Next.

10. Women do not constantly think of ourselves as though we were describing ourselves for phone sex purposes. I promise. Even lesbians and bisexual women, who may quite rightly be assumed to be fonder of women's bodies than the average straight gal, do not get their Rice Krispies while thinking of the pertness of their own breasts. In fact, I am a bit skeptical that any woman ever has gone around thinking of her own breasts as pert. Or lush. Mostly I think of mine as...mine. Like my ear or my elbow. Because...follow me carefully here...when you've had breasts for decades, you sort of get used to them, almost like they're a body part a person might have.

11. If you're going to hit a dozen genre conventions on the first two pages, you need to do it in a way that tells me that the story will not simply be a string of conventions. Three pages later, you still hadn't left the stencil. Fail.
Tags: i can in fact quit you
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